Ever since the lock down was declared people took to social media to spread awareness and positivity which is some sort of an offshoot of being idle at home. In this process a hash tag surfaced called #weareinthistogether which depicted how people need to come together in isolation and also maintain social distance to fight this pandemic. However while the privileged have stayed at home and taken over the internet, the reality at ground zero was far from how it needed to be.
The national lock down had many repercussions. Some section of the society felt it was pertinent while some could not wrap their head around the situation. For some it was their much needed break, but for some it was life falling apart right in front of them. For some it was a great time to spend quality time with family, but for some it was all in shambles. For some it was time to learn a new hobby but for some it was time to find new ways to feed the family. Hence the lock down has, apart from being a weapon against the virus also held a mirror to the stark inequalities in the society.
The agriculture sector, daily wage workers and workforce from the other unorganized sectors have been the most affected section of the society which is close to a whopping 90 percent of the population. Among them, the migrant workforce’s condition was cataclysmic. The lock down has triggered a massive exodus of migrant labor from their workplaces to their home states. They were impoverished and reduced to destitution in just few days into the lock down. They walked hundreds of kilometers to reach their home states. They were looked at as mere carriers of virus than victims of a flawed economic system. This was considered to be the most humongous exodus of migrant workers across the nation in post independent India.
The very calamitous turn of events in the lives of the under privileged and the luxury of social distancing that is being practiced by the privileged need to set the alarms ringing in the minds of the people of the country. The fundamental question that one needs to pose during these times is about the myopia in public policies that have been rolled out by the government for the betterment of the lives of these people. The series of governments in the post independent India have spent a fortune on these policies which have gone nowhere. This throws ample light on the shallow global economic system and the social hierarchy that is rampant in the nation.
The migrant workers are the very foundation and partners in development of world class infrastructure that many cities have benefited from. This period of pandemic is being viewed as a time of uncertainty but it also needs to be looked at as unfortunate time for most chunk of the population of the country.
The nation needs to take this as an epiphany and come up with policies that straighten out the warped economic system. And thus #weareNOTinthistogether.